Comic book highlights DC’s loyalty to LGBTQ + stories
Corporate offerings celebrating Pride Month often look like dishonest attempts to cash in on a social movement, but DC Pride # 1 succeeds by showing how DC Comics has been promoting LGBTQ + representation for years. With nine short stories and seven pin-ups, DC Pride offers a broad view of the publisher’s queer characters and creators, executed with plenty of personality in both writing and art. The writing team has put together an impressive creative lineup, and there are some particularly inspired couples, like James Tynion IV and Trung Le Nguyen Telling a Batwoman Fairy Tale, or Mariko Tamaki, Amy Reeder and Marissa Louise defining Harley Quinn’s relationship. and Poison Ivy with a crazy action scene.
The rehabilitation of DC’s first gay stereotype, Extraño, continues in a new Midnighter story by Steve Orlando and Stephen Byrne, and in just four pages, Vita Ayala, Justin Partridge and José Villarrubia hatch a suspenseful criminal plot for Renee Montoya who plant a lot of promising seeds for the future. The most moving story of DC Pride focuses on Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of the Golden Age who was reinvented as gay in the 2012s Earth 2 series. The former character of Alan Scott is back but he remains a gay man, which introduces a very interesting character dynamic between Alan and his gay superhero son. Writer Sam Johns makes a touching tale of living in the closet and reconnecting with a separated family, and the coarser qualities of Klaus Janson’s line art underscore how Alan had a particularly difficult time for gay people.
While Marvel has dragged its feet when it comes to meaningful representation of LGBTQ + in film and television, DC has spent the past decade expanding representation across all of its media, pushing Harley Quinn to the forefront on the big screen and populating it. TV shows with LGBTQ + heroes, including the first transgender superhero on TV: Super girl‘s Nia “Dreamer” Nal. Dreamer made his comic book debut in DC Pride with a story written by Nicole Maines, the actor who plays it on TV, and while the script is a base superhero fare, it’s exemplary, as it allows Dreamer to be a hero and a sweetheart. romantic without making her sex the center of the story.
It should be noted, for comparison, that Marvel also released its own one-shot Pride, Marvel Voices Pride, this month, which is more of a mixed bag. The opening recap of LGBTQ + representation throughout Marvel’s history uses alien characters to highlight the trans and gender non-conforming community, than other groups, and indicates there is much more to do with characters who reflect real life experiences. Some effort is made with some of the other shorts, with characters like Gamma flightDr Charlene McGowan and Jessie Drake, a forgotten trans mutant introduced in the ’90s, are gaining more attention in stories that also feature trans creators. contrary to DC Pride, Marvel’s one-shot is not entirely original content, but includes a reprint of Alpha Flight # 106, Northstar’s coming-out number. This is historically important but hasn’t aged particularly well, and the book would be better served by giving the other stories extra pages or making a few new entries.
DC Pride ends with the introduction of the JLQ — Justice League Queer — a team that was part of the controversy DC Round Robin earlier this year, who pit different comedic pitches against each other for the likes of social media. JLQ was knocked out in the first round, where he faced Robins, a book featuring some of the most popular characters from superhero comics. Writer Andrew Wheeler acknowledges that the name JLQ is pretty squeaky in his screenplay, but there’s a lot of potential in a team book that showcases the publisher’s variety of LGBTQ + characters. Lots of stories in DC Pride feel like the start of something more, and ideally there is enough interest in this one-shot that these heroes can spend more than a month in the limelight.